I never knew much about melanoma, except what they taught me in medical school. It was the worst skin cancer to have. Joe Enright taught me more. As a tribute to the memory of Joe, I founded the Enright Melanoma Foundation along with other close friends and co-workers.
Since the age of 4, I spent almost every weekend during the summer on a boat fishing with my father. There was no such thing as sunscreen or sun safety for most of us back then, only the “white stuff” lifeguards put on their noses. We all got sunburn, and it hurt.
Years later, when I learned more about the importance of prevention and early detection, I immediately thought of my father and I recommended evaluation by a dermatologist. Since the creation of the Enright Melanoma Foundation in 1999, my father has had 4 melanomas removed from his right arm – the part of his body that had the most sun exposure while driving the boat in his 20’s and 30’s. I am not sure that these melanomas would have been caught as early as they were if not for the lessons learned from Joe Enright.
I recently celebrated my father’s 81st birthday in Yankee Stadium – covered by sunscreen and hats (he took his hat off for the picture). I’m not sure what this Father’s Day would be like if it were not for my involvement with the Enright Melanoma Foundation.
TO ALL OF THE FATHERS OUT THERE – Happy Father’s Day! Fathers – please teach your children about Sun Safety and get checked by a dermatologist yourself. Children – please have your Fathers checked by a dermatologist. And let’s remember the wives, mothers and daughters as well.
Mark I. Zimmerman, MD, FCCP, FACP
Founding President, Enright Melanoma Foundation